Exports to USA top £600 million for the first time
Scotch whisky exports rose to a record £4.2 billion in shipment value last year, new figures show.
Figures compiled by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) show export values rose by 23 per cent on the previous year, with exports to the United States breaking £600 million for the first time.
Exports to the USA, the biggest market by value, rose by 31 per cent to £654.9 million, and in France, the second largest export market, exports rose by 27 per cent to £535.4 million.
Rising demand in both emerging and more mature markets has resulted in export values increasing by an average of 10 per cent a year over the last five years, the SWA said.
The SWA added whisky now contributes £134 per second to the UK balance of trade.
Gavin Hewitt, chief executive of SWA, said: “Despite continuing economic uncertainty, Scotch whisky continues to meet increasing demand from all corners of the globe.
“It continues to appeal to consumers in countries such as the USA and France and is being enjoyed by younger professionals in newer markets in Asia and Latin America.
“Exports have increased for seven years running contributing to delivering an export-led recovery, a focus for both the UK and Scottish Governments.”
The SWA said it also continues to fight for fairer trade agreements for the Scotch whisky industry globally, particularly on import tariffs, as well as campaigning for stricter laws on counterfeiting.
A new trade agreement with South Korea, finalised last June, eliminated a 20 per cent import tariff on non-domestic spirits as well as affording Scotch whisky greater protection against counterfeiting.
The SWA also secured an agreement with the Indian authorities to formally recognise Scotch whisky as a uniquely Scottish product in an effort to protect Indian consumers from counterfeit products.
Hewitt added: “Securing fair market access and reducing tariffs is a priority for the industry.
“A Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the European Union and South Korea came into force in July. India is a priority for this year.
“We are hopeful a FTA can be signed which will lead to a reduction in the onerous 150 per cent import tariff.
“The industry is investing in Scotland to ensure it can seize these overseas opportunities.”